2013 Vintage Report: A Goldilocks Season

 

Growing season (Oct-Apr) data:

Rainfall (mm)

Season 12-13 11-12 10-11 09-10 08-09 07-08 06-07 05-06
October 69 110 40 63 70 88 126 67
November 33 87 29 53 11 28 61 18
December 82 113 25 49 91 74 60 41
January 43 76 76 114 7 16 31 24
February 69 36 11 17 121 29 10 37
March 95 111 85 45 35 39 44 67
April 35 70 103 7 37 98 43 61
Totals 426 603 369 348 372 372 375 315

 Growing Degree Days (heat units)

Season 12-13 11-12 10-11 09-10 08-09 07-08 06-07 05-06
October 75 85 63 86 102 112 113 113
November 88 120 166 146 186 176 181 156
December 232 189 268 220 247 241 169 280
January 230 210 262 266 290 324 274 290
February 186 165 254 264 244 255 223 234
March 175 140 180 215 163 233 260 171
April 119 79 67 141 100 127 108 151
Totals 1105 988 1259 1338 1332 1396 1328 1395

I will remember 2013 as a “Goldilocks” season and vintage – yields slightly above long-term averages and weather not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry (while we had an extended dry period a look at the monthly rainfall figures will show that we were never in drought). If there is a Martinborough winegrower who wasn’t happy this season they’re probably never going to be happy.

Having enthused about the season I find I have to start with a Mea Culpa. In previous seasons I have used the nearest dedicated weather station to provide the data for our Growing Degrees Days summary. It turns out that, due to its proximity to other structures this weather station is likely to be over-stating temperature. The Growing Degree Days figures for this year are sourced from another local weather station that is set up in accordance with the rules that Metservice specify for siting weather stations. I haven’t yet re-calculated the previous seasons shown above but it is likely that, excepting the cold 2012 vintage, they will be ranged around the 2013 figure.

The other point to note is that, due to the way it is calculated, the Growing Degree Day model tends to over-state effective heat in seasons with a high proportion of warm nights (typically La Nina years) vs. seasons with more cool nights. 2013 was definitely a “cool n ight” year so the 1105 units, while not particularly high, were extremely effective.

In sharp contrast to the 2012 vintage, which provided a stern wine-making challenge, the wines of 2013 practically made themselves with the condition, sugar/acid balance, and flavours of the grapes near to perfect. 2010 is still, for me, the outstanding vintage of recent memory but 2013 is likely to give it a run for that title. Time, as always, will tell.

Here are the average harvest parameters for each variety:

Variety Brix pH  Acidity (g/l) Yield (t/ha)
Chardonnay 23 3.35 6.5 8.5
Pinot Noir 24.5 3.6 7 5.8
Riesling 21.5 3.09 8.2 7.5
S.Blanc 22 3.2 7.5 9.3

Roger Parkinson

June 2013

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